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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  August 19, 2011 2:00am-3:00am EDT

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party crash. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews down in washington. leading off tonight, hostile takeover. are we watching a takeover of the republican party these days? we have a gop that is >> increasingly indistinguishable from the tea party. it's newest heartthrob, if you will, rick perry, doubts evolution. doesn't believe in global warming and wants religion to be central to our politics. either the gop is replacing real change in our american culture, or the gop's headed for a 1964-style thrashing which is it? also, there's been no shortage of advice for president
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obama on what he should say in his big postlabor day speech. here's something you're going to hear tonight. go partisan. forget about trying to make a deal with republican whose have no intention of making a deal with you. no. remind people what democrats stand for. what government can do when politicians aren't trying to tear government down. and then let the republicans defend attacking social security, attacking medicare, attacking medicaid. plus -- does the president have a problem with his most loyal supporter, african-americans? congresswoman maxine waters thinks so. i'll have hard questions for her on what she thinks now the president should do. what actions he should take. not what words he should speak. and tom coburn can't believe he did this. suddenly president obama wants to create a culture of dependency in america, because coburn says it works so well for obama as an african-american. it's hard to know where to even start with that one, but we'll try in the "sideshow."
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i can't believe coburn said that. finally, finish with rick perry and the politics changing the republican party. we start with what we're calling the host's takeover are the republican party. mark halperin, senior political an lift and "time" editor at large and michael, political analyst. gentlemen, a tough question. the gop now, the top three candidates are, of course, bachmann, won the straw poll in ames. rick perry the new kid on the block, and perhaps the hot hand, and mitt romney, who seems to be holding on, and no more. has the party moved dramatically towards the tea party world, mark? >> it has moved dramatically in that direction ever since the passage of health care. maybe even before that. the party is on a roll in elections, and in momentum in washington, with the message of the tea party, but there's real dangers all of the candidates, including mitt romney, the most
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moderate with the possible exception of jon huntsman, fully captive to the ethos of the tea party. while it may allow them to win election, long term, it could be disastrous to the party. >> michael i think you are wise and sensitive to the movements in the republican party. when it moves away from its suburbs, moves away from people who are a bit flight their politics but not hard right? >> well, i have file add column for publication tomorrow on exactly this issue, and what i say is that mitt romney and jon huntsman if they were to emerge, present the best hope for the gop for exactly this reason. only if they can survive. i don't even say win. i say survive the primary season. i happen top think that the best thing that happened to romney was perry getting into the race, because he and michele bachmann attract the same kind of a constituency, and i think the only hope romney has is that they split that conservative tea party vote, allow him to be the last man standing, because either he or huntsman are the only one who can appeal to independents and moderates who
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hold the keys to this election. >> yesterday governor rick perry was asked about his stance on climate change. let's listen to this response. >> i do believe that the issue of global warming has been politicized. i think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they would have dollars rolling in to their, to their projects, and i think we're seeing an almost weekly, even daily, scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change. yes, our climate has changed. it's been changing ever since the earth was formed, but i do not buy into that a group of scientists who have in some cases found to be manipulating this information.
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>> wow. early today the governor answered the question about his position on evolution. here's what he told new hampshire voters. >> you know, it's a theory that's out there. in it, but in texas we teach both creationism and evolution in our public schools. >> ask him why he doesn't believe in science? >> you're smart enough to figure out what you want to -- >> you know what? mark, i don't know what to say. i mean, this is -- you know, ronald reagan used to say progress is the most important product had he worked for ge. i wonder if these people are anti-science? i don't know him very well. the way he refers to science, and his suspicion that science is crooked, all trying to get research money, foundation money. there's a hostility in his voice and his depicting of science. >> chris, let's not -- let's make sure we differentiate on two separate points. >> sure. >> the tea party stands for lower taxes and less government.
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>> sure. >> a lot of people in the suburbs of philadelphia and ohio who believe in that, too. the extent the party is captive to lower taxes and less government, that, again, may find him enough adherence to win in 2012. we also need to keep, i think, separate, people who are saying things like governor perry, we believe. no doubt he believe what's he said about global warming and what he said about evolution, and those taking positions on social issues maybe because they feel they must and are going to run the gauntlet of getting the republican nomination. >> but can you separate the tea party appeal on issues like taxes and spending which clearly goes right to the center, perhaps even over to the center left in terms ever appeal from their gospel beliefs? >> well, that's going to be the challenge, if rick perry's the republican nominee. he and his advisers suggested before he got into the race that if he ran he would run on the economy, and jobs, and downplay his position on social issues.
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michele bachmann has been very skillful in doing just that. on her sunday show round robin last weekend, she avoided giving direct questions to social issue. she wants to focus on the president and on the economy. i'm surprised to some extent that rick perry is not doing that given they said he works on the other hand, throughout his career he's said what he believes in. i said before, these are his genuine beliefs. not what he's invented to try to get through this process. >> take a look at the "new york times" and cbs poll out, on the tea party several months. in august, 20% of americans have a favorable view of the tea party. 40% negative. unfavorable, doubled since april. after the tea party had too much influence on the republican party, 43% say, yes. too much influence. 24%, about right. 17% say not enough. michael, i have to tell you, i don't think you can control your
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message like we did in the old days. politicians. that little kid, young kid about 8 years old. i don't know how old. maybe 10. maybe his mother was prompting him. how does a person with old time religion keep it to himself? >> part ever the problem with the tea party, it's become synonymous with intransigence pap good thing for the president. the most telling debate in ames, questioned whether they would reject a 10-1 deal. $10 for every $1. and the audience applauded nap also tells you something. i was disappointed in jon huntsman for going along with the pack in that regard, but that's, you know, that's where they are, and i think to outsiders watching that, who are more middle of the road, it's going to catch up with them. that's why the president should come home after the vacation, lay out a definitive plan that everybody understands, and then demand that there be a vote, up or down in the congress that will enable them to say, look,
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i'm ready to compromise. they were not. >> mark, let's talk turkey about most -- i am completely confident in american politics. like the french. i know nobody wants to hear it. we tend to be a boorish roy country, not going off to the right or left generally. in fact, we just don't do it. what does a parent of a suburban high school kid think? we're fighting in a global world with science and math and got to be the best, you got guy who might be president who doesn't believe in science? questions it, climate, old time argument over evolution, questions science per se? where are we international our global struggle for economic excellence when we challenge the scientific method itself? >> well, i don't want to -- think we should overstate perry's relationship with science. he just had back surgery with an experimental stem cell surgery. he believes to some extent. the views are in the main stream of the republican party.
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may be provocative or hurt his chances of getting elected taking him off message, but not positions that would be foreign to a lot of americans and certainly not a lot of talk radio show hosts. >> let's talk about votes for next year in states that decide elections. you mentioned, pennsylvania, ohio, probably other states like that, wisconsin will decide this election, perhaps virginia, of course, and the even florida, of course. michael, in those states, a lot of middle of the road people who have kids for whom they are very ambitious. will these issues of science, are questioning perhaps the voting be relevant? questioning constitutional basis for the civil rights bill, even? will these turn off the middle? >> yes. unless democrats have an opening. unless the economy totally bottoms out. in the 24-7 cycle, i don't think you can control your message to economic. sooner or later michele bachmann
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will sow to answer the questions she doesn't want to address about same sex relationships and science-based questions for rick perry will be problematic. not in the short term. in the short term they help you. help you carry south carolina. help you in iowa. i don't think they help you in new hampshire, but eventually in a general, they're problematic. >> what a great segment. two gentlemen, you were excellent. thank you, mark halperin and my buddy michael. going in the offense in his big speech after labor day. time to start punching? remind america that democrats are the ones who fought for social security, for medicare and medicaid? for all of those that people take and don't want to see torn down? it might help the country, help himself and help him win re-election if he does. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. [ female announcer ] we always try to save you even more money
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a big question, can he win in november? crunching the numbers found perry won by an average margin of victory of 13 percentage points. a strong number that lags behind the 19-point winning number other republicans had during those same elections and may give republican establishment second thoughts about governor perry. we'll be right back.
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i have no problem with folks saying obama cares. i do care. if the other side wants to be the folks who don't care -- that's fine with me.
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welcome back to "hardball." that was the president. president obama earlier this week embracing his role in health care. and rick pearlstein says the president has to be more forceful making sure they have him to thank in protecting social programs. in "time" magazine, just came out entitled, "how democrats win defending the social safety net." he joins us now from chicago. alex wagner, a huffington post reporter and nbc political analyst. everybody loves you. can't wait to hear your thinking about this. i want to start this off, ladies and gentlemen, the best piece of and gentlemen, the best piece of clip i've ever seen to make your point and educate all of us, how to be, if you want to be, a strong democratic president. here's president roosevelt warning about republicans back in 1936, in words that could be used right now in this partisan fight. let's listen.
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>> let me warn the nation against the moral evasion that says, of course we believe these things. we believe in social security, we believe in work for the unemployed, we believe in saving homes. cross our hearts and hope to die, we believe in all these things, but we do not like the way the present administration is doing that. just turn them over to us. we will do all of them. we will do more of them, we will do them better and most important of all, the doing of them will not cost anybody anything.
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>> unbelievable. rick that is american speech. that's how you talk to people today. your thoughts, because it seems to me what you're saying. >> today. >> that's right. i mean, every democratic candidate from -- the presidential candidates have been saying the same thing ever since. every generation. i mean in 1960 everyone remembers the famous debate kennedy made nixon sweat. why did he sweat? it came right after kennedy said, i'm a democrat, proud to be a democrat. we built social security and by the way, i'm going to put together something called medicare, social security for medical care for old people, and nixon, part of a great, proud american party, calmed republicans. by the way, the republican party opposed all those thing, let me mention. >> this politics, seems to me, reminding people what the stakes are. you won't have all this stuff even to kick around, to use a nixon phrase. there won't be medicare,
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medicaid. things it republicans have been dying to take apart and now are on the verge of doing it. your thoughts? >> there's a sinking feeling among some democrats that joe biden and nancy pelosi are the great protectors of social security and medicare and not barack obama. the fact he shrunk from the site, he is keyed up to have the role in public life. seems in a lot of levels the president is shrinking from it. he has an impressive legislative series of accomplishments he can point to and yet he's still -- you saw this in minnesota and iowa. one day he's standing firm for these social programs. the next day trying to be above it and be the great conciliatory chief, if you will, and stand in the middle road, and appeal to independents. and i think for that reason there's a lot of anger on the part of the left. >> you know, it seems to me -- >> yes. >> rick, i'm a firm believer
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this applies, used by alex, in a world sense, the democratic party is a centrist party. they're not a hard socialist party. don't believe in government control of heavy industry and they basically believe in mixed capitalism,s in some role for the government, believe in a strong, in fact, dominant private sector and yet that's a more nuanced position. obama has a hard time defending that. >> yeah. >> chris, forget the word left. ronald reagan, quote him. there is no left and right. there's only up or down. there's only up or down. up for the middle class means some kind of protection of their economic interests. i mean, obama is worried that we talked about this stuff he's going to sound divisive. history suggests people who talk about this stuff aren't divisive. they're uniters. look at franklin roosevelt. the guy who said the kind of stuff you heard in that clip. this is also the guy who built the strongest, the biggest, the most diverse political coalition in american history and then united the whole country to defeat hitler.
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the idea that talking about malfactors of great wealth, about people who are taking away the birth right of every american is going to make people think that you're somehow creating class war, history doesn't suggest it. it's just not there in the record. this is the kind of stuff that makes people feel that the democratic party is on their side. that democratic leaders are going to lay down the tracks for their interests, and not only help democrats win, help them govern the country better. >> answer this question, back to you with the same question. kennedy was able to make that case for the democratic party back when the party was two times as strong as the republican party. the republican party was dormant in the '50s, died off. most of the people, half the people who are republicans have become independent by the end of the 50s. two to one registration. two to one competition today. do you think you can argue a strong democrat versus republican argument, alex, on the social safety net and win?
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>> yes. i mean, look, we're talking about veteran. we're talking about children who are sick. we're talking about the poor, the disenfranchised, people are color. this is a huge part of the american public. the idea you have to forfeit these values in the name of, what, deficit cutting? illogical. i feel like obama needs to channel that passionate better angel and go big. i mean, he's got to go big with this, and then ask the american people for the mandate, and i think they will give it to him. >> can he make the case with sarcasm, that the upper class, franklin roosevelt owned -- franklin roosevelt, you're smiling, rick. nobody was better at sarcasm. with the my dog file oh speech, destroyed opponents with sarcasm. this president doesn't to team sow have that gift. >> he has his own rhetorical mode an doesn't need to use sar kitsch. this is the position that 60% to 70% of the american people hold. point to 23-30 poll, and he can talk, again, to the broad center
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of the american electorate, but he can't do that without putting republicans, extremists in his sights. >> okay. why does he make this simple case that nixon was to his left? that he is not a left winger? that nixon wanted an employer mandate. all our president got through individual, making the individual american responsible for his own health care costs. a conservative idea. why does he tag him as a socialist and get away with it over and over again, rick? >> he's letting himself be intimidated. letting them get inside his head. playing to the beltway elite which treats the tea party as if they're somehow the broad center of the american electorate, when, as you showed in your statistics, 40% of country thinks they're off the rails. they're the most, according to robert putnam "new york times"
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in the yesterday, you had them on. they're the most unpopular group in the american electorate. all he needs to do, point out that john boehner said there is no room between me and the fee party. instead, he assumed that john boehner can somehow bring the tea party to the heel and sell them this deal when they're entire existential existence, reason for being on this earth politically is not making any kind of compromise like that. >> exactly. here's president obama on government's role in reviving the economy. let's listen. kind of defensive. respond to this, alex. >> the prime driver of economic growth and jobs is going to be our people and the private sector and our businesses, but you know what? government can help. government can make a difference. so i hope that i can count on you in the days ahead to lend your voice to this fight to strengthen our economy.
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i need you to keep your pressure on your elected representatives, for things like the pay roll tax cuts or road construction funds. the other steps that will help to put our country back to work. >> you know, i remember when the republican party was down in the doldrums. republicans are people, too. i mean, that's what that sounded like. government can help. >> yeah. >> help? >> again, you know, i don't disparage the president for encouraging americans to get in touch with their elected representative, but leadership has got to come from the top on this. this here is a sense in some circles, incensed in circle, the president is lost and he really doesn't know where to go and there's a tea party, small though it may be, that has sort of gale-force winds behind it. >> i'll say. >> and he's -- he's been blown around by them, and he really needs to regain his footing and it's a critical time to do that. 14 months before 2012 and he's got to come out with something big.
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there are 50 million people out of work that need jobs. he's got have short-term spending to deal with that and make his case to the american people. >> hope he's watching. thank you very much. great thinking and writing and thanks for coming on. up next, michele bachmann keeps coming up with new reasons for her past career. interesting embroidering going on here. the latest reason why she went to work for the irs coming up. they keep getting more interesting. that's ahead in the "sideshow." you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc.
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back to "hardball" now for the "sideshow." first up, here's a fun one. since the early days on the campaign trail, michele bachmann made it widely known that she has the experience as a tax litigation attorney for the irs. recently, she famously said she became a tax lawyer because her husband told her to, and the bible commands wives to be submissive to their husbands.
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today she came up with a creative explanation for why she went to work for the irs. let's listen. >> i went to work in that system, because the first rule of war is, know your enemy. so i went to the inside to learn how they worked, because i want to defeat them. >> women, that's quite an elaborate plan for your career, but is she running to president now to infiltrate the enemy yet again? that comes to us courtesy of the plum line at the "washington post." the crazy talk continues. another personal attack on president obama's background, this one from republican senator tom coburn, and at an event in his home state of oklahoma yesterday afternoon, an audience member asked the senator whether he felt president obama wanted to destroy america. coburn used the opportunity to criticize the president's political philosophy as "goofy and wrong" and said that, "the president's intent is not to destroy. his intent to create dependency,
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because it works so well for him." what does that mean? coburn went on to say that president obama pushes government-run programs, because, "as an african-american male, obama received tremendous advantage from a lot of these programs." well, senator coburn, you now join the ranks of other republicans that have sunk to the left of condoning ethnic jibes at the president. nothing to be proud of here. i'm surprised. i thought you better than this one. and gop candidate rick perry stopped by a local cafe in new hampshire yesterday for a meet and greet. once inside, governor perry stopped at the counter to sample a pastry. there he is. it became clear not everyone who stopped by for a few words for the governor was there to cheer him on. let's listen. >> let them eat cake with your tax dollar, middle class working for the rich people in texas. >> whoa, the voice of the people
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there. now for the big number tonight. president obama finished off this lee-day bus tour. throughout the week he held four town hall meetings in the midwest and managed to get the crowds going more than a few times throughout the week. how many times did the president pause for applause during appearances? 217 times. not bad. on the other hand, only 48 pauses for laughter. there's no surprise there. with the current economy, it's not exactly chuckle-worthy out there. up next, does president obama have a problem with african-american supporters? his most loyal supporters out there, maybe so. congresswoman maxine waters of california says he's got a problem. serious questions, and i've got serious questions for you. she's coming up next. congresswoman waters. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc.
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preparing it leave the country with his family. it could be a matter of days. tunisia would grant them exile. and there is a united call from the u.s. and its european allies. president obama says assad lost all credibility ease a leader.
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welcome back to "hardball." president obama, does he need to focus more attention on unemployment in the black community, nearly doubled that rate of the rest of the country? congresswoman maxine waters thinks so. earlier at jobs fair in detroit, sponsored by the congressional black caucus she had this to say. >> the congressional black caucus loves the president, too. we're supportive of the president but we're getting tired of this. getting tired. and so has we want to do is, we want to give the president every opportunity -- >> how long? >> to show what he'll do to lead us on. we want to give him every opportunity. our people are hurting. unemployment is unconscionable. we don't know what his strategy
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is. we don't know why on this trip that he's in the united states -- we don't know that, but all i'm saying to you is, we're politicians. we're elected officials. we're trying to do the right thing and the best thing. had you let us know. is time to let go, we'll let go. >> thank you. the congressional black caucus, powerful in the democratic party, will they be more aggressive and press on the jobs issue? congresswoman waters, you've got a lot of seniority and prestige. my question for you. as a legislator, tell me what bill you want the president to send up to the hill that you guys can fight for, on jobs? >> thank you very much, chris. as you know, the congressional black caucus has produced about 40 pieces of legislation. we think the most significant bill would be a bill to do what the president has alluded to, and that is, the infrastructure, where we would repair the roads and the streets and the water
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systems, and put people to work and, of course, people with jobs, who put money into the economy. we think that's one significant thing. some of us are focused on talking about bringing our jobs from offshore back into america. too many of these call centers and other jobs have been exploited for -- cheap labor in third world markets, and we believe we have to take a close look at the tax code to see if there are incentives that keep them sending these jobs over there. we know that they want cheap labor, but we should make it more difficult for them. we should make it more costly for them to do that. so we're looking at that. of course, many of us thought the stimulus package was not big enough. we know it's going to be very difficult, but we do think the president should be bold, and he should come back with the kind of stimulus package he's going
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to fight very hard for, and so we also believe that all of this talk about the green jobs never materialized. we've not had the trading. we don't have the manufacturing. where solo pants are being developed. we've got some ideas, and if the president is going to roll out with the new proposals, we intend to have our input in it and help develop something good for the country and, of course, good for the african-american community. >> how will you get him to do it? how are you personally and members of the black caucus going to get the president to come out after labor day and not come out with a bag of things he's got but a strong infrastructure that hires perhaps a million people? in the black community, unemployment is double. do you want him to put a deal out that's big enough to really put a dent in unemployment? are you willing to push that hard? >> i'm willing to push that very hard. thousands and thousands upon
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people are lining up, he can see there's rising concern. perhaps he does not know this much concern was out there in the african-american communities and i suspect what we're doing is going to be duplicated by other communities. so we think what we're doing now will add to, you know, giving him the strength. one of the things we hear consistently is, the people want him to fight. they want us all to fight. they don't like that this tea party has gained so much influence and appear to be so strong and, really, influencing public policy in the wear they're doing. they keep telling us, stand up and fight, and you go tell the president we want him to fight too. we is a tort him, want him to be successful but cannot back down. no more compromising like the
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ones that we saw in raising the debt ceiling and all of those cuts that we're confronted with. >> let's look at this town hall episode. your congressional colleague alan west of florida, was on fax last night and called you and other african-american leaders part of the problem. he used pretty inflammatory language, which you've heard before. he used it again. let's listen. >> you have this 21st century plantation out there where the democrat party has forever taken the black vote for granted, and you have established certain black leaders who are nothing more than the overseers of that plantation, and now the people on that plantation are upset, because they've been disregarded, disrespected and their concerns are not cared about. so i'm here at the modern day harriet tubman to lead people in the underground railroad away from that plantation. >> wait what do you think of that? i know he represent as white district, that's who he's talking to. >> that's so odd.
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no. i think that that's odd and doesn't make good sense and i don't think it even deserves a response. did he tell you his brother was here today? >> tell me. >> he has a brother out of work. his brother came up to me, introduced himself and told me that he had lost his job. had been laid off, and i asked him if he'd called his brother? he said he had. i said what did he say? he said, he told me to come to the job fair, come and see you. so we're hopeful we can help his brother. >> so he sent him to the plantation, as he put it? >> well, you know, that's a reasonable conclusion. >> thank you very much for coming on, congresswoman maxine waters. i hope you keep up the fight. i'd love to see, by the way, a huge demonstration in washington on the issue of jobs. labor, minorities, lots of people -- >> that may happen, yes. >> we're coming up on the anniversary, you know, ever the king speech. maybe it's time. it's your call, but i would be very happy to cover that one. >> thank you.
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get help paying for what medicare doesn't... and save up to thousands of dollars. call this toll-free number now. we're back. a new edition of "time" magazine out. the cover, inspiring story how many american veterans returning from our wars in afghanistan and iraq are working to change this country. ours, for the better. from helping out fellow soldiers to running for political office. "times" calming this piece, calling them, the new greatest generation. joining me to talk about this, joe klein and wes moore. welcome to you both. to you wes for a firsthand, a subject of this piece. you are part of this story. tell us, if you can, what is it that your generation, coming back from the front, in terms of the duties you've had over there, in terms ever trying to bring a country together politically, how that trains you to help back here at home?
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>> i was honored to be one of the people asked to represent this group of 23 million iraq-afghanistan vets coming back with extraordinary skills. entrepreneurial, fearless, able to look at worst-case scenarios before they look at best case scenarios. the fact is we're looking at the transition back home. there's not a scenario these non-commissioned and officers will see back home that will intimidate them or make them flinch. these are extraordinarily brave and courageous people now serving as they come back home. >> how is this warfront, both iraq and afghanistan, different in terms of training people for careers back home? >> chris, you know, i've been going over there for the last five or six years, embedding with american troops and always been amazed by what they do. most americans don't know it. they're not just providing security, but they're also going into these towns and they're
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becoming the government. they are doing infrastructure projects. they're opening schools. you know? they're paving highways and they're dealing with the local city councils, and i watch these captains like wes and also the non-com, the sergeants and corporals who do this, if they noncoms, the sergeants and corporals, who have to do this. and i say if they can do that over there, under fire, they could certainly do it under -- you know, back here. and the great thing that i found out over the last few months reporting this story is that a lot of them are coming back here with the intention of making things better here, because they don't like what they see when they get back. >> how much big thinking goes out there on the war front, wes? people talking about america when they are over there, when you have time alone. over drinks or over coffee or whatever, at nighttime, in the dark, when you have time to kill. are they talking about the country they represent on the battlefield, about what they can do at home? >> you know, i think the thing that takes up the most time for soldiers and airmen and sailors and marines are not the ramifications of the work and
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the political ramifications of the work, but making sure the person to your left and right gets home safely. you're taking care on the battlefield and when you get back home. leadership for us really comes down to a couple of really emtemery elements. one is to make sure you're prepareda the all times for everything. the second, use common sense. and third, take care of your people. those are things we live by. if you can do that, then you're putting yourself in a good position for good success. >> joe, same question. >> yeah, one thing is that a lot of times at night, they are out on patrol. and i have to say when they come back from patrol, you know what they do to let off steam? you know, they play war video games. i mean, the stuff they're doing over there is so intense that it doesn't leave much room. although i have a couple of special operators in this piece who spent the time between operations arguing economics. >> well, that's a good thing to argue. they may find that useful.
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i am still arguing in my brain every night that one. here is rick perry earlier this week. this is a tricky question. here is what the governor of texas yesterday said about our president, and he is our president, everybody's. let's listen. >> one of the reasons, one of the powerful reasons, that i'm running for the presidency of the united states is to make sure that every young man and woman who puts on the uniform of this country respects highly the president of the united states. >> what in hell did he mean by that, wes moore? >> well, you know, it's funny because i remember someone earlier said to me, well, you know, he said it once, and it's early in the race. but the fact is, he didn't say it once. he said it multiple times. it's not just a slip of the tongue. it's a talking point. and this actually really bothers me. when we put on that uniform and put ourselves in harm's way, we are doing it because we swore aleeng allegiance to the constitution of the united states, regardless of if that person is a democrat or a
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republican. and rick perry knows that. and i found that statement to be not only offensive but beneath the office he have you beening for. >> he's been for the war in afghanistan, doubling down there. continuing the effort in iraq. got bin laden. what is wrong with this guy as a military leader? this was a personal shot at our president, and it sounds really nasty. >> well, it does, and the irony of this is that i remember during the iraq war, a lot of the uniformed military brass were really kind of brassed off at president bush because he didn't play -- didn't plan phase four of the iraq war, which is what you do when you get there, and you have taken baghdad. this, you know, president does that planning. and i think he's on pretty good terms with the military brass. and the other thing i'd point
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out was that twice in the last four months, he made major decisions against the advice of the military. one was to do the osama bin laden raid the right way. the military just wanted to bomb it. and the other was not to do counterinsurgency in the eastern part of it afghanistan. and i think that that was a wise decision as well. >> joe, thanks so much. great reporting and great story. makes us feel good. and wes moore, thank you so much for your service. and thank you for coming on tonight. when we return, the troubling shift to the right in today's republican party. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. 3q double shift... i need a break.
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>> let me finish tonight with this dramatic shift in republican politics. three years ago, the party ran john mccain for president. next year, it looks like they may well run one of three candidates, michele bachmann, antii miettinen, or rick perry. i listened to rick perry and i wonder what we're talking about and where we are going as a country. he refuses to accept the role for example that fossil fuels play in climate change. he wants to ditch the voting rights act. he questions the constitutional basis of civil rights act. he speaks of secession. his defenders say it's a harmless rhetorical device. he promises to make the federal government irrelevant. these are not dog whistles. they are bugle calls to the old days before civil rights, even before the civil war.
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is this the republican party formed by abraham lincoln and advanced by theodore roosevelt and continued by ronald reagan? is this a party that believes that progress is our most important product, as reagan once declared, or does it view progress with distrust, even loathing? i don't think we need to get into name calling in this emerging campaign season. what we need to get into are the beliefs, the doctrines, and the deeply held world views of the candidates. does rick perry believe that government could use some tough, even radical reform? or does he believe it's essentially evil? does he possess a humility in the realm of science or reject science itself? does he have a problem with the civil rights bill? and what did he mean all those times he waved that threatening word secession around? did he believe the confederate states were right to do what he did? as we used to say in the '60s, there's sothing happening here. and now it's

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